Science 2 min read

Researchers Devise new way to Extract Energy from Black Holes

Gerd Altmann /

Gerd Altmann /

According to Einstein’s theory of general relativity, rotating black holes have a massive amount of energy that we can use.

The idea of mining energy from a black hole may seem like the stuff of science fiction. However, researchers believe that the massive supply could address our future power needs.

For this reason, several studies have proposed various ways to unleash energy from black holes.

For example, Nobel Physicist Roger Penrose suggested using particle disintegration. Likewise, Roger Blandford and Roman Znajek theorized that a black hole could release energy through electromagnetic torque.

Meanwhile, Stephen Hawkings proposed using quantum mechanical emission for the extraction.

Now researcher scientist Luca Comisso and Felipe Asenjo have devised a new way to harness black holes.

In a statement about the project, Comisso said:

“Thousands or millions of years from now, humanity might be able to survive around a black hole without harnessing energy from stars. It is essentially a technological problem.”

The researchers described their study in a published paper in the journal Physical Review D.

Harnessing the Energy from Black Holes

The process involves breaking and rejoining magnetic field lines near the event horizon. That’s the point from which nothing — including light — can escape the black hole’s gravitational pull.

A hot soup of plasma particles that carry a magnetic field usually surrounds black holes.

Comisso noted:

“Our theory shows that when magnetic field lines disconnect and reconnect, in just the right way, they can accelerate plasma particles to negative energies and large amounts of black hole energy can be extracted.”

As you can imagine, the theory might prove useful in several ways.

Besides helping astronomers estimate black holes’ spins better, the findings could drive black hole energy emissions. Comisso also suggested that it might provide a source of energy for an advanced civilization.

According to the team, the plasma energization process can reach a 150-percent efficiency — higher than any power plant on Earth.

Achieving an efficiency greater than 100 percent is possible because black holes leak energy,” says Asenjo. And that’s “given away for free to the plasma escaping from the black hole.

Read More: Objective Reality Doesn’t Exist Says Quantum Physics

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